With nearly a century of combined legal experience, O’Bryan Baun Karamanian specialize in maritime and railroad law. Located in Michigan, we represent maritime workers from coast to coast. If you’ve been hurt, give us a call today.
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Hi, I’m Dennis O’Bryan, I’m the founding member of O’Bryan Baun Karamanian. We’ve been in existence since 1983 and we practice and specialize in maritime law and railroad law. My firm has a footprint – we practice in every major port city of the United States; from New York to Los Angeles to Seattle to New Orleans, and all ports in between.
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We’re pretty much a multifaceted law firm. We practice a type of law that applies to maritime workers — whether on shore or on a vessel. We practice with regard to railroad workers who are injured on the job and we also do Defense Base Act work, which has to do with civilian translators and such on military bases throughout the world, to which the Longshore Act is applied.
We’ve negotiated huge settlements for victims of maritime accidents across the country, recovering millions of dollars for our clients. Take a look at some of the groundbreaking cases we’ve won.
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What about settlements? Well, first thing the client decides if he wants to settle. We’ve tried enough cases, we’ve gotten the big money. The shipping companies know we’ll take it all the way, so generally they’re going to offer the best settlement that we can get, but if the settlement is not enough, we go to trial. We’ve been doing this for 30 years, we’ve tried lots and lots of cases, got millions of dollars on settlements and cases in trials, and the companies know that we’re gonna take it all the way, so they better not play games. If they wanna make a settlement, it better be a good one, it better be of the value of the case, or we don’t want it – we’ll go to trial. But the decision whether you wanna settle or not is yours.
Let’s talk a little bit about the Jones Act. The Jones Act is a federal statute that affords a remedy to crew members, typically seamen working aboard merchant vessels, to recover for personal injury or death. It’s a very liberal and generous statute when it comes to awarding damages to an injured crew member. Any negligence that causes or contributes however slightly to the result in injury and damages is compensable. That’s something we specialize in and you should give us a call if you have been injured in a maritime setting.
Hurt on the Job
If you’re injured on the job the first thing you have to do is get the necessary medical care. Then after that you have to look out for number one, and number one is you. You’ve got to make sure you receive the necessary assistance to make sure that your legal rights are guarded, because typically the employer or negligent party is not going to be a looking out for you — he is going to be looking out for himself.
Admiralty law, or general maritime law, is basically the oldest body of law still in practice in the world today. It’s applied in the United States in many contexts for anything that happens on the water; whether it be the oceans, whether it be a navigable river, such as the Mississippi or Columbia or Ohio River, or a navigable lake like the Great Lakes. Admiralty law is a specialized area of law and we practice it and we know all the rules.
Compensation is the amount that it’s going to take to make you whole after an injury or a loss, and that amount is defined by law that depends on the context in which you were hurt. If you’re hurt on a vessel or hurt on a train, if it’s a train worker, you’re entitled to damages to be determined in court. If it’s workers’ comp, it’s to defined amounts per week. Different contexts, different damages, we know the difference — give us a call.
Federal Employers Liability Act
The Federal Employers Liability Act was what congress enacted in response to what it perceived as a tremendous number of injuries being sustained by railroad workers who at the time, at the dawn the 20th century, really didn’t have any protection available to them. It is a broad remedial statute that affords an injured worker a right to sue the employer in court for damages if they should sustain an injury, or God forbid, suffer death while working on the job. It’s very liberal, it mandates that the employer furnish the employee with a safe place to work and any negligence that causes or contributes, however slightly, to the worker’s injury and resultant damages is compensable.
Pleasure boating as it applies to admiralty law and maritime law is probably one of the most problematic areas. The reason is that the people that are generally involved are not professionals; they are unknowledgeable about admiralty law, they’re unknowledgeable about what rights you may have should you be injured or suffer damage, or God-forbid a loved one dies as a result of a pleasure vessel accident. It is really important to seek out an expert in maritime or admiralty law to avoid pitfalls in such defenses in special aspects of the maritime law as in the limitation of liability act. So it’s very important that you get the advice in counseling of an expert maritime attorney.
Maritime injuries could come at any time and could come from any direction, and some of the injuries are extreme. Unlike the small ropes that are generally used by landside people, our maritime workers are required to work with towing hawsers. These would be used also to moor a vessel to the dock. And if they come under shock load or a load that was improperly exerted they can snap and strike the worker, injuring him — either severing their legs, causing closed head injuries, or something called traumatic brain injury TBI. Generally the worker’s incapacitated and he or a loved one or people that would have his interest at heart should get to a maritime practitioner as soon as possible so that they’ve advised us of their rights — whether it be maintenance & cure, entitlement to medical care, or to maintenance being sustenance while they are off the vessel and to other damages to which they may be entitled disability, pain and suffering and that sort of thing.
Defense Base Act
I’d like to talk to you about the Defense Base Act. The Defense Base Act is a federal workers compensation statute that covers civilian contractors who were injured or killed while working overseas in support of the US military. It affords the injured worker with a weekly indemnity payment or compensation check in addition to reasonable necessary medical expenses to cover the treatment that you need to receive following injury. In certain circumstances you are also entitled to rehabilitation services should you be prevented from going back to work that you’ve done in the past. So if you’ve been injured while working abroad, give us a call. We’ve been doing this area of law for quite some time.
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